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Getting A Collision Repair Estimate

Brad Tucker

If you have been involved in an accident, you will need to get an estimate of the damage in order to understand how much it will cost to repair your car and begin the repair process. We have found that people have a lot of questions about the estimate writing process, which can add more stress to an already stressful time. The most common questions about getting a collision repair estimate revolve around the following items:

  • Who writes the estimate
  • Where you should go to get an estimate written
  • What your repair options are once you have a written repair estimate

The answers to these questions depend on who is paying for the repair, you or an insurance company. While the process varies depending on who is paying, one thing is set in stone. It is always your decision where your vehicle is repaired.

Who Writes The Estimate?

If you are paying for the repair out of your own pocket, the body shop you select to repair your vehicle will write the initial estimate, as well as any supplemental estimate after the vehicle is disassembled.

If an insurance company is paying for the repair, an employee of the insurance company or an employee of an affiliated body shop will write the initial estimate. There are several ways this can happen, based on the insurance company’s policies and your particular circumstances. Any supplemental estimate will be written by the body shop that repairs your vehicle.

Where Do I Go To Get An Estimate Written?

If you are paying for the repair, you will go to a collision repair facility to get the estimate written. You may choose to get more than one estimate and compare both the estimates and the body shops that prepare them. While most body shops use similar estimate writing software, there can be significant differences in repair processes between shops.

If an insurance company is paying, where you go to get an estimate depends on the insurance company. Generally, there are three methods for getting an insurance company estimate:

  • An adjuster designated by the insurance company will come to the vehicle and write the estimate.
  • The insurance company will direct you to a location where you can get the estimate written. This is usually a body shop that has a network relationship with the insurance company and has set aside office space for an adjuster who works for the insurance company.
  • The insurance company will direct you to a network affiliated body shop that will write the estimate themselves and upload it digitally to the insurance company.

What Are My Repair Options Once I Have An Estimate?

If you are paying for the repair, you will authorize your chosen body shop to repair your car based on the estimate that they wrote for you.

If the insurance company is paying for the repair, the estimate they have written will provide the starting point for the repair no matter which shop performs the work. The repairing body shop will use the estimate as a blueprint, but may discover additional damage once the vehicle is disassembled. In that case, the shop will write a supplemental estimate for the additional damage and submit it directly to the insurance company.

No matter who is paying for the repair work, it is your vehicle and your choice where you get it repaired. Even if you go to an insurance company affiliated body shop to get the estimate, you do not have to leave the vehicle there for repair. The major insurance companies have offices at network shops so that their staff can write more estimates in a day than they could if they had to drive out to each individual vehicle owner to write the estimate. The decision on where to have your car repaired should be based on a number of factors including the shop’s level of training, the quality of equipment used in the repair, any relevant manufacturer certifications, the shop’s reputation, and the warranty backing the repair work. The difference between good and bad collision repair is measured in dollars and safety, two things to be taken very seriously. The team at Georgia Square Collision is here to provide you with a high quality, transparent repair process backed by our Lifetime Warranty. We welcome you to stop by, get a free repair estimate, and let us answer your questions about collision repair.